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Australian Success at the 2023 NAMM Show

20th April 2023 – Alex Masso

Fang Lui (The Piano Fantasy) with Alex Masso (AMA) at the Australian Reception

AMA members were well represented at the 2023 NAMM Show, held at its regular home of the Anaheim Convention Center in the off-schedule month of April.  This year’s event was widely understood to be a ‘stepping stone’ back to the regular schedule and scale of a January NAMM Show, which will return on 25th-28th January 2024. It also marked a transitional moment as Joe Lamond’s last show, and last month, as CEO and President, a position he has held for two decades as only the third NAMM CEO since 1948.
The incoming CEO, John Mlynczak, was present throughout the NAMM Show and attended the AMA Reception, meeting Australian distributors and retailers. The AMA was also represented at the International Coalition (IC), bringing together similar associations from around the world including NAMM, AMA, MIA, EMIA, ESTA, PLASA, CAFIM, ANAFIMA, and more. Members of the IC cooperate on important international projects including advocacy on CITES and related issues, Make Music Day, and the NAMM Global Report.

Photo of Graham Hoskins and John Mlynczak

L-R: Graham Hoskins (Concept Music) meeting incoming NAMM CEO & President John Mlynczak at the Australian Reception

Photo of Miles Jackson and Alex Masso, standing in front of the Cole Clark stand at the NAMM Show with a row of acoustic guitars on display.

Miles Jackson (Cole Clark Guitars) and Alex Masso (AMA) at the Cole Clark stand

A number of Australian exhibitors had success on the floor of the show, including Wolf Guitars exhibiting for the first time, and Cole Clark Guitars launching its new True Hybrid model in the US. “Cole Clark launched Cole Clark USA and the True Hybrid,” said CEO Miles Jackson. “We opened plenty of US dealers and sold lots of guitars. We had artists and educators at the stand for the whole 3 days checking out the True Hybrid and the rest of our range. We had meetings with four vendors and met up with 5 international distributors. Lots of people, flat out the whole time”.
The smaller scale event was still vital for Australian wholesalers and retailers, taking the opportunity to maintain relationships with suppliers and partners and form new ones. ““NAMM 2023 had a really positive vibe,” said Michael Jago,  Managing Director of Link Audio. “For Link Audio, we started with an excellent pre-NAMM event with our friends at Apogee, and we also thank the guys from Musos Corner, Sounds Easy and Turramurra Music for joining us at that event. For the 3 days on the show floor, everyone we met with was happy to be there and our suppliers were glad we attended as well. As a distributor, you just have to go to NAMM or you risk being irrelevant.

Michael Jago & Chris Smith (Link Audio) with the team from Adam Hall

 Australis Music Group was presented with a Milestone Award recognising 50 years in business, accepted by Helen Marx (Chief Commercial Officer), Mark Wilson (Brand Manager), and Adam Goglis (Sales Director). The Australian Music Association was also presented with an award for its years of service to the industry, which I was proud to accept on behalf of members, the board and my predecessors who have worked hard to lead the AMA for 45 years.

50 Year Milestone Awards Recipients, including Helen Marx (Chief Commercial Officer), Mark Wilson (Brand Manager), Adam Goglis (Sales Director) from Australis Music, and Joe Lamond (CEO, NAMM), right)

NAMM CEO Joe Lamond (left) and Music Historian Dan Del Fiorentino (right) presenting the Milestone Award to the AMA (Alex Masso, centre)

Australian Musician covered the She Rocks Awards and new products, including the new Yamaha CK Stage Piano, drums and percussion from Yamaha, and new Hammond models XK4 & SK Pro X.

Exhibitor bookings for the 2024 NAMM Show, 25-28 January at the Anaheim Convention Center, are open now.

Amber Technology announces new General Manager – Integrated Solutions

21st October 2022

Amber Technology has announce the appointment of Nathan Brady as General Manager for Integrated Solutions. This appointment replaces the current General Manager Richard Neale, who is retiring from the business from 1 January 2023. Nathan will be commencing with Amber Technology in November, which facilitates a managed and comprehensive transition.

Nathan joins Amber from CMI Music and Audio, where he was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing since 2018. Nathan had been with CMI for over 16 years in total, across multiple sales management roles in both Sydney and Melbourne during his tenure.

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Executive Committee 2015-21

2020-21 Executive Committee

  • Michael Shade,  (President) – Yamaha Music Australia
  • Anthony Ursino, (Vice-president) – Macron Music, NSW, VIC
  • Graham Hoskins,  (Treasurer) – Concept Music, WA
  • Tony Burn, Committee – The Resource Corporation
  • Andrew Muller, Committee – StoreDJ | Manny – NSW, QLD, VIC, WA
  • Michelle Brown, Committee – Fine Music, VIC
  • Andrew Collyer, Committee, Hal Leonard Australia
  • Warrick Baker, Committee – Kawai Australia
  • Mark Amory, Committee – Fender Music Australia
  • Jeff Higgins, Committee- Encore Music Distributors
  • Dominic Disisto, Committee – Holden Hill Music, SA
  • Phil Muffet – Committee, Jands Pty Ltd
  • Michael Jago, Committee ex officio, Link Audio
  • Gillian Erskine, Committee ex officio, Forte Music Schools
  • Mathew Taylor, Committee ex officio, Yamaha Music Australia
  • Stefan Krcmarov, Committee ex officio, Australian Piano Warehouse

Executive Officer:  Robert Walker

New 2019- 2020 President’s Message

AMA President Michael Shade

I am very honoured to have been nominated, and to serve as President of the Australian Music Association.

After 30+ years in the industry both in retail and wholesale sectors, I feel I’m in a unique position to be able to serve the interests of both wholesale and retail AMA members.

I would like to thank past serving members of the executive committee, particularly Tony Burn serving as past-President and more recently as Treasurer, and Craig Johnston for his service as President for the last two years.

Also, I would like to thank both Anthony Ursino for stepping-up as Vice President and for long serving executive member Graham Hoskins, for jumping in as Treasurer for the next year.

There are many projects for the committee to tackle over the coming year, including the now famous annual Melbourne Guitar Show, continued development of AMA’s online presence including Australian Musician, YouTube Channel and Socials, plus various Government relations activities including engagement with the Department of Environment, on topics such-as CITES and Ivory & Mammoth Regulations, and saving our musical instrument making and maintenance qualification.

More recently the AMA was invited to participate in the APTTA (Australian Piano Tuners and Technicians Association) National Conference, striving to be fully representative of the membership. The AMA committee is aware the association is viewed by its membership and the industry with a bias toward ‘rock n roll’ promotion and less about ‘traditional’ instruments. This we would like to change, starting with joining over 800 locations around the world making music on June 21, the third annual Make Music Australia Day event.

The AMA has a long tradition of serving the industry – it has made concerted efforts to develop the market and advocate for music education. It has run trade shows and represented the industry in the halls of government as well as internationally. It has seeded and developed many activities and initiatives that individual members cannot do in isolation.

Whilst the primary purpose of the AMA is to support and encourage music making, the AMA is here for its members to help address industry issues, therefore, the AMA committee would like to hear from its members regarding any burning issues (other than price!).

You will see a ‘re-shaping’ of the AMA over the next three years, sharpening its focus on some key industry issues, addressing its purpose and managing future management transition.  We need and appreciate your membership as it enables for much work that benefits the whole industry.

Happy Music Making,

Michael Shade

AMA President

What’s On in 2019

The AMA’s newly appointed executive committee met in February for the first time in 2019 and welcomed our new members, Anthony Ursino, Gillian Erskine and Dave Clark. A packed agenda included discussion around member benefits, presentations from AON’s insurance team (who also hosted the meeting), the AMA events schedule, Make Music Day and the tasks that the various sub committees will take on, to improving member benefits and the visibility of the current benefits and activities. And to get a new logo!

You can check out the new executive committee team at this LINK.

President’s Report 2018 to the 2018 Annual General Meeting

Craig Johnston Elected AMA President at the executive committee meeting on October 31, 2017

President’s Report to the 2017 Annual General Meeting

Members, I am honoured to report on the activities of the association for the financial year ended June 30, 2017.

The AMA’s mission is;
To be the voice of the music products industry and grow music making in Australia.

All our efforts are focused on this mission.

During my term as president, our committee has had a focus on providing clear and tangible value to our members, to provide events and activities that our members can alone cannot achieve individually.

Firstly, thank you to the members of the association for supporting the efforts of my colleagues on the executive committee and the AMA staff. You’re sharing the vision encapsulated in the above mission statement.

As I reported last year, we have pursued an agenda that required the association to invest for the future. A deficit again this year in the accounts, reflects the committee’s aim to be most active in planning future programs and staging events of real benefit to members. 2017-18 will catch up on a good proportion of this deficit as we, due to accounting convention, cannot account for this year’s guitar show surplus.

We invested a lot of resources into planning and executing events and services that provided value and sales in 2016 – 17. The Melbourne Guitar Show for example has grown for the third year running to a point where it will help fund more activities such as the second Sydney Drum Show and the Amp conference. The committee will investigate a consumer event for the Brisbane market this coming year.

We have focused on end-user focused activities and events. Our online footprint has increased markedly, with the AMA You Tube channel breaking through the million views this year. These videos focus on our member’s products.

We have purposefully aimed at exclusivity for members in accessing AMA services.
Meaningful connections with our international partners, NAMM, MIA UK, and many other international trade associations, has meant that the AMA has been able to work closely with, and be funded by, the NAMM Foundation for our ‘From Schools to Community’ Initiative. Further the NAMM Foundation Funding has allowed us to embark on establishing an Australian Make Music Day to join the global music community in celebrating what we do.

We have also further cemented our partnership with Soundhouse Music Alliance, entering into a Memorandum of Understanding that positions them as the ‘charity of choice’ for the AMA and its members, ensuring that industry philanthropy can be targeted to programs that promote music making to remote, indigenous, disabled and underprivileged communities with the full benefits of DGR status.

We have continued to inform and resource the industry with online resources and industry market reports.

Brendan Callinan, September 5, 2017

Committee Updates 2016

December 2016

As Christmas fast approaches, on behalf of the Executive Committee, all the best for the coming festive season and the all-important Christmas trading period. We should also remain aware that the post- Christmas season has now also become an important trading period, which was not the case only a few years back, something I was reminded of clearly as I recently searched through sales data from the last 10 years. This week’s news is full of some very mixed messages about the current state of the Australian economy, so my focus will be on those things we can control ourselves and try to create our own prosperity, as an industry, in 2017.

I’m pleased to announce that we have some fresh blood on the committee with Bud Cole from Fender Australia and Steve Vranch from Yamaha both new and welcome faces. The AMA has a big agenda rolling out after our November meeting with the announcement of the Sydney Drum & Percussion show on May 27-28 at Rosehill and the new industry conference format slated for September. Add to this another Melbourne Guitar Show in August and it’s a solid program. It’s heartening to see that the latest quarterly statistics suggest that the value of the industry has been trending upward, reaching a total import value of over $250 mill for the first time since 2008/9. The conference we’ve committed to is focused on improving the business skills of the industry, a commitment we have made to members.

As we strive to provide value for member’s commitment to the association we have released a 60 second social media advertisement promoting the value of music stores in the community. Please check it out. We have also developed our online library of consumer purchasing tips, all on our You Tube channel for members to share. Like many associations, we rely on a pool of loyal supporters and members who see the importance of the industry having a functional and active industry association. I’m pleased to say that our member support has grown in 2016 with major wholesalers re-joining the AMA in support of the association and their retail partners.
However, it’s vital that the association demonstrate clear and tangible value to those members. We believe that we are doing this better than at any time in recent history, with an active organisation supported by reliable service providers and skills.

Online we are making an impact in supporting the promotion of our products and the music making message. End user promotion of the industry generally is achieved through our social media channels and online footprint. Sharing members content, creating a network from our members’ online activity and growing exponentially the reach of our messaging. We are using highly targeted social media campaigns to selectively grow our market and the reach of our message, for the benefit of all members.

Once again, a safe and prosperous Christmas to all and good health and success for the New Year.

November 29, 2016 – President’s Report to the AGM

The AMA promotes a positive message about music, musicians, music education and music in our community. Our objectives in 2016 and beyond are to increase industry skills, create more customers, promote the benefits of shopping with Australian music businesses, and advocate for music education

Like many associations we rely on a contracting pool of loyal supporters who see the importance of the industry having a functional and active industry association. I am pleased to say that our member support has grown in 2016 with major wholesalers re-joining the AMA in support of the association and their retail partners. However, it’s vital that the association demonstrate clear and tangible value to those members. We believe that we are doing this better than at any time in recent history, with an active organisation supported by reliable service providers and skills.

The committee has pursued as a strategy the re-establishment of an association that members can gain notable benefits from. We have pursued an agenda that required the association to invest for the future. A loss this year followed a surplus last year, reflects the committee’s aim to be most active now in planning future programs. We have invested a lot of resources into planning events and services that will provide value in 2017.

Online we are making an impact in supporting the promotion of our products and the music making message. End user promotion of the industry generally is achieved through our social media channels and online footprint. Sharing members content, creating a network from our members’ online activity, growing exponentially the reach of our messaging. Our online marketing and messaging is being selectively grown by targeted campaigns using social media.

End user promotion via what have again become successful events like the The Melbourne Guitar Show are encouraging. They give us some insights that our core market is getting older, but it’s a good market to have. Our challenge is to keep live music making upper most in the mature adults of tomorrow!

We have worked with member stores in developing video resources promoting the value of Your Local Music Store. We’ve developed advertising pieces featuring music celebs and we are currently plotting the social media campaign to go with it.

The AMA has consulted broadly with the membership and will in 2017 present an industry conference to deliver more training and professional development opportunities. There were clear messages from this consultation which said that too few wholesalers can find value in a ‘trade show’ but will find value in face-to-face meeting time with retailers combined with professional development for their staff. Retailers too, have expressed a strong desire for training opportunities.

Meaningful connections with our international partners, NAMM, MIA UK, and many other international trade associations, has meant that the AMA has been able to work closely with, and be funded by, the NAMM Foundation for our ‘From Schools to Community’ Initiative.

We continue to invest in our nominated core activities. If you are reliably informed about your own market you are better equipped to do business here and overseas. Our statistics and market reports are a reliable source of this information and we work continuously to try and improve this data and the way it is interpreted.

June 2016
As we head toward the end of another financial year, and a federal election, it is interesting to reflect on the mixed messages facing the industry in 2016. While retail trade figures are still weak, many stores have reported strong outcomes. Margins and cash flow remain under strong pressure from discounting, online sales and the increasing costs of doing business in Australia, but we are a resilient industry that invariably finds solutions to our shared problems. Unfortunately, not all businesses will survive this period of change, but those that do will no doubt be stronger and better prepared for the future. Your AMA Exec Committee firmly believes that some activity in the marketplace is what we best be doing in the industry’s interests. With that in mind we are heading fast towards our second Melbourne Guitar Show, and planning is going well. It is good to see the show being so well supported by the industry at a time when promotional activity is critically important. We have been active in laying the groundwork for further market development with several pilot programs being conducted under the Young Warriors banner. These programs are aimed at providing youth with various opportunities to make music in a mentored environment, in after school settings and in support of mental illness recovery. Our partnership with the NAMM Foundation has been crucial to these developments.
Behind the scenes, the AMA has been working with the Soundhouse Music Alliance in order that we formalize a partnership so that our industry has its own charity, focused on a shared mission. This is an important step for us to have an entity that is separate to the ‘commercial’ side of an association’s activities. This Alliance with the industry, will see us have the ability to attract contributions from donors that are fully tax deductible, and that further our aims of creating programs that improve access to music making.

The 2015 Market Report has been completed and is now online. It’s an interesting report given the reported business environment, with strong gains in the value of the industry. Whether this positive result provides a good platform from which growth will result remains to be seen.

Brendan Callinan, President

April, 2016
I’m writing this on the eve of traveling to the Frankfurt Musikmesse. This is a show that will look radically different in 2016 as the organisers take it in a new consumer-centric direction, focusing on creating an environment where the end user can experience music and music products in a way that transcends what individual retailers can offer, no matter how large. The great hope is that this increased excitement, awareness and education than translates back to additional sales in music shops in the months and years ahead.
The AMA took a similar approach last year, moving away from a show format (AMAC) aimed at creating a business and trade environment, to the Melbourne Guitar Show model that brings end users, suppliers, manufacturers and retailers together in a dynamic and energetic way. We will build on that success again in 2016 and then look to expand the concept into other product categories and locations in 2017. This is no small undertaking for an operation as lean as the AMA, but it is one that we believe can help generate participation and growth and hopefully play a small part in the necessary evolution our industry needs to face off to the future. This is essentially why the AMA exists – to do those things that cannot be undertaken by individual businesses but that will ultimately benefit all. Having said that, I also believe that the AMA needs to create a forum for industry leaders to come together and discuss and workshop the collective challenges we all face in modernising our approach to business, particularly as the millennials take over from the baby boomers as the dominant consumer group in our space. This is one project your committee are currently working on so, as usual, if you have ideas you want tabled, please contact myself, Rob or any of the committee members. This is an organisation of members for members and your voices are needed to make us all stronger.

Brendan Callinan
February, 2016

Well, here we are almost two months into 2016, proving that the pace of life and business shows no signs of letting up. The frenzy of Christmas is already a distant memory, but it is worth noting that the ABS had December retail sales growing at a solid 4%. Hopefully you enjoyed a piece of that in your business.

The AMA is already off to a flying start with the announcement to members last week of the next Melbourne Guitar Show, with new floor plans and a preferential booking period for the August show. The committee has listened closely to feedback from last year’s event and have made a number of improvements, including a dedicated acoustic only floor on the first level. While this show proved a great standalone success in 2015, it is important for members to understand that it is also providing a blueprint for your association to expand it to other cities and other categories in the years ahead.
Rob Walker represented the AMA at NAMM this year, further cementing the already strong relationship we enjoy with NAMM, who have again invited us to apply for NAMM Foundation funding to further our ‘From School to Community’ project. They are helping us develop programs that use music in after-school, local government settings and music therapy to keep students of all ages playing via recreational music. In particular, we want to develop stronger links to these program for member retailers. We also saw great attendance from members and associates at our annual NAMM get together, hosted by NAMM Chairman Mark Goff.
As I ease into my second stint as AMA President (after a very long hiatus), I have asked the committee to focus on a few key things – growing the market through greater participation in music, providing training and support programs to improve the skills of our member businesses and to help equip them for a rapidly changing world, and to provide our retail members with stronger connections to end users through promotions, programs, events and advocacy.
Most importantly, while the Association and I all working for the greater good of our industry, it is the paying AMA members that I want to see really benefit from our efforts. Through your engagement you make our activities possible and I want every AMA member to see a tangible return from that investment.
Brendan Callinan,President
Recent Committee Updates
Christmas 2015

While Christmas is a great time for personal reflection, in a business sense it is all about looking forward to the year ahead and putting the wheels in motion for achieving lofty goals. At the recent industry get together following the associations AGM, I had the opportunity to talk with members about what is important to them in the current climate. The answers invariably revolved around common themes – how do I connect with more customers; where can I access specialty training for myself and my staff; how can the association better support the core MI channel?

The good news is that your association is well progressed on ideas and plans for 2016 that directly address these needs. Early next year we will unveil plans to provide members with access to highly targeted training programs around digital marketing and internet trade. We will build on the success of the Melbourne Guitar Show with another event that brings consumers and traders together in an exciting and engaging way but also provides more links for the broader industry to connect, including the relaunch of National Guitar Month. We have a blueprint to take consumer shows into other cities and other product categories. It will be a busy and exciting year and I hope it’s one that brings new growth and prosperity to our members.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many members who have contacted me since taking over the Presidents chair, be it expressions of support or ideas and suggestions. I really hope that we can galvanise the industry and take it forward in 2016.

I’m sure the committee join me in wishing the members, and all that work in the industry, Christmas greetings and health and prosperity in 2016.


Brendan Callinan Elected President for 2015 – 16

The association is pleased to announce that the MD of Roland, Brendan Callinan was elected president following the AGM. BC comes to this position with considerable experience as a past-president, and long-time committee member. He has worked at Roland for 25 years, and first served on the committee in 2002 playing his part in the association’s work to develop the industry and its market.  At a crucial time in the industry’s history, his experience and passion for music products will go a long way towards the association being a positive contributor to music products businesses nationwide.

Brendan said; “After taking several years off from the AMA committee, I returned in 2013 believing that the rapid change impacting our industry would be best addressed by a cohesive, collegiate approach to business. The last two years have reinforced my belief that we are always stronger and more successful working together to solve shared problems, than in isolation. I have been privileged to watch the efforts of Rob Walker, Tony Burn and my fellow committee members rebuild, rejuvenate and repurpose the AMA towards relevance in today’s environment. I see the next few years as critical to our industry and association. The opportunity for businesses who understand the shifting landscape and develop quick and creative responses, is unparalleled in our recent history. I want the Australian MI industry to be at the forefront of that movement. I see our agenda as increasing the tangible value proposition of AMA membership, providing strong connections to consumers for AMA members and building revenues that can, once again, allow us to invest in programs that engage the community in active music making. To that end I am happy to hear from any AMA member who has ideas on how this can be achieved”.


Craig Johnston was again elected Treasurer and continues his excellent (and voluntary) work in oversight of the members’ finances.

View From the Top’ October 2015, From AMA President Tony Burn

Ever noticed how music products feature in other industry ads?

Currently there’s the Hyundai Small but Epic TV campaign featuring Ben Marshall shredding on a uke.

One of my past favourites is ANZ TV ad where the school girl is practising trombone but the slide is hitting the wall because the room is so small ”need more space?”

Then there’s the Tintern Grammar add gracing Eastlink in Melbourne showing a student playing a classical guitar with the slogan “I want to put a dint in the world”.

There are many others, the point being that when a mainstream industry like car manufacturers or banks or schools use our products, they give us much more exposure than we would ever achieve.

Of course they’re not trying to sell our gear but it’s interesting how music making features in the aspirational theme of their ads.

Tintern’s theme is obvious – your child will get the best well rounded education and that includes music and arts.

ANZ are trying to sell you a home loan so that you can extend or buy a new house that will give your kids the room they need to pursue noisy but educational things like playing an instrument. Any self-respecting parent would want to be in the position to do that.

Hyundai’s ad is another twist on size doesn’t matter. Our small car is better equipped and more fun than the gas guzzler you have now. The allusion to music being that someone cool like a musician would buy this.

In any case music making is still seen as an aspirational activity by much larger industries and when it comes to trying to connect with people’s hope and dreams, our product can figure highly.

So if we’re being swamped by the mundane issues of just making a living in the music industry and the ever changing goal posts that business throws at us, it might be worth remembering that there’s an element of what we do that’s both magnetic and enigmatic to the average person.

If we can get rid of the enigma that would be great – for all of us.

All the best,


Latest Committee News September 2015

The AMA executive committee took a couple of significant directions as a result of its September quarterly meeting.

AMA re-appoints Rob Walker as CEO

The AMA executive committee appointed Rob to continue the work that commenced in 2013 for a further two years. AMA president Tony Burn said “This appointment was based on key KPI’s being achieved in Rob’s first two years. In Rob’s time as CEO he has organised two successful AMAC’s, executed the highly popular Melbourne Guitar Show, developed three new industry websites, and maintained our core services for members.” He added, “We have also consolidated our partnership with the NAMM Foundation and achieved program funding again this year. We have a plan and we are looking forward to the next two years, as the AMA further supports the industry.”

Melbourne Guitar Show back in 2016

After the success of the MGS, the committee has resolved to go again in 2016. The Caulfield Racecourse has been booked again for early August 5 – 7 and the show committee will be looking at this years’ experience and seek to improve the concept. Nearly 5,000 people enjoyed a weekend of product and performance and we think there is even more potential if we get more engagement from the industry next year.

Our post show exhibitor survey was emphatic with over 90% of our patrons thinking the show was great! ‘The industry received a well-overdue boost in confidence from the positive results of the show”, said AMA president, Tony Burn

View from the Top August 2015, From Tony Burn, AMA President

Let’s go on with the show…..

It is just over a week since we convened at the Caulfield Racecourse, 6km from the CBD, for the Melbourne Guitar Show.

From an idea formed over the committee room table around a year ago and as a result of nine months hard planning, we had a show – or did we?

Despite a heralded return and success of AMAC 2013 we found numbers dwindled by about 20% in 2014 for a number of reasons. Interest in the concept seemed to have waned – do we risk going again and see interest wane further? What could we do differently?

The committee made the bold decision to go down the path of promoting to the end user once again and opened the event to all members, retail and wholesale in a collaborative spirit. We all felt the time was right to provide some promotion to the consumer to be proactive in stimulating our market.

The guitar show concept has continued to work here and overseas for many years. The question the committee had to answer was, “did the Australian public still want to attend this kind of show?”.

The answer was a resounding yes.

How did we brand the show?

Australian Musician is the association’s strongest public brand and it was decided that the show should belong to the Magazine. Again the concept of targeted marketing was vital and the best value. The show brings attention to the magazine and vice versa.

So the AMA marketing machine went into full swing and the central platform of Australian Musician provided the articles and videos promoting the show and the magazine.

The week before the show we had over 50,000 page views from nearly 20,000 unique visitors on the Australian Musician site. 1,000 people on Facebook saying they were going and 500 tickets sold.

Still we didn’t know if we had a show on our hands and that we could pay the bills.

I think it was about an hour in on the first day before I realised it would be hard to screw this up.

We had great attendance, great exhibitors and great clinicians. Bands were playing outside and in, the overpriced coffee was flowing and I could see we were in for a big show.

In the end we had 4,581 participants and hundreds more made a return visit on the Sunday. They were also buying, and exhibitors have reported seeing many customers in the week or so following that they had not seen before.

So now we have some decisions to make:

  • Same time, same place and go for a bigger show?
  • Events to other capital cities?
  • What can we do differently to increase visitor and patron numbers?
  • How do we/should we provide the industry with a business forum for suppliers and retailers? Read – do we need ‘trade events’ like AMAC? Like public shows it may prove cyclical, but we still must consider this.

The Exec Committee meets early September to thrash out our future plans. These include by the way development of pilot recreational music making programs in school and community to invest our NAMM Foundation grant for 15-16.

As always we’ll keep members posted on the plans for next year and if you have any comments or suggestions please let your preferred committee member know or contact me or Rob. For more on the show here’s the blog

For Pony Music’s time lapse video of the show from their booth

Check out some of the exhibitor’s responses, including my own, to their Melbourne Guitar Show experience

Finally I’d like to thank Rob (without whom this couldn’t have happened), Glenys, Richard, Greg, Dom (who donated his time), Shannon and all the exhibitors and staff for their involvement.

All the best,

Tony Burn, President

President’s View from the Top – April 2015

This year has started with a bang both for the industry and the Association. The feedback from retail and wholesale has tended positive overall.

There has been some slowdown over recent weeks as exchange rates affect local pricing on US product but for the most part our industry has done well.

Our 2014 Statistics and Market Report will soon be released in the members only section of the AMA website – an encouraging 4% lift in value and over 10% in units represents the best result in three years. This is also reflected in the US stats. <LINK>

We have launched the Melbourne Guitar Show under the banner of Australian Musician. we have positioned Australian Musician our primary end-user promotional vehicle, online. It is gaining momentum all the time and the guitar show is a great use of Australian Musician’s reach and the quality of its reader base. At the time of writing this around 50% of the space has been sold. This will be a great event covering all aspects of guitar from playing, manufacturing, teaching, performance and much more.  <LINK>

In addition to the show Australian Musician is providing an unprecedented wealth of material including archives of previous issues as well as video channels talking to local and international musicians. We’re also broadening the horizons of the publication to cover more sectors of the market, especially traditional instruments. And we are promoting members’ products. Check it out here –

On the government relations front (training in particular) we have successfully lobbied for the reinstatement of a CERT IV qualification in Musical Instrument Making and Repair. The federal government withdrew funding but the Victorian State Government has funded a new qualification. Industry representatives, with our CEO chairing the task force, have worked with the government to design a course that can become a national qualification and be applied to various instruments, although the current course is focused on guitar. The aim is to provide a recognised qualification that enhances employment opportunities within the industry. This is great news for manufacturers and technicians who provide employment but also a great way for retail staff to improve their skills base and value add for employers. <LINK>

NAMM this year was a record event and we are proud to say that our Executive Officer, Rob Walker was asked to chair an international forum of global music associations.  NAMM CEO, Joe Lamond also hosted a gathering of Australian suppliers and retailers which was attended by the NAMM Chairman and executive committee. There’s some happy snaps here

When you hear what’s going on around the world it makes you realise once again how strong and resilient the Australian music industry is and how lucky we are to have such a committed and proactive Music Association.

In addition we have made a grant submission to the NAMM Foundation for two new programs to expand music making both in schools and in the wider community.

New Community Service Announcements released by NAMM are in this Enews and online.

On the subject of promoting music making I the community we are pleased to announce new Weekend Warriors rounds:

  • KC’s Rock Shop – Boronia, VIC
  • GH Music – Flemington, VIC
  • Muso’s Corner – Newcastle, NSW
  • Allans + Billy Hyde – Alexandria NSW
  • Holden Hill Music – Holden Hill – SA

The value of this programme is beyond doubt and easier than ever to set up. Talk to Rob to find out more – <LINK> –

So as you can see, there’s been a lot of activity going on behind the scenes and now you can see the benefits.

If you would like to know more about any of these subjects then please contact Rob or myself.

If you like to have a rant – just call me – Rob’s too busy J

All the best


February 2015 Meeting Notes

February 17, 2015 The committee met last week and considered a solid agenda, including final planning for the Melbourne Guitar Show, The Low Value Threshold on GST, both featured in this newsletter.The focus of our Grants Application to the NAMM Foundation for 2015-16 was another important consideration with the committee opting for a ‘From School to Community’ focus where opportunities for music making were developed in the community through recreational music making programs.

The Benchmarking project was further discussed in the light of the relatively few responses received from the initial call for expressions of interest. The committee deferred the issue pending further consultation with members on describing the confidential process.

ABS Industry import statistics was also on the agenda with concern being expressed over the blurring of the Digital Piano reporting, seemingly being skewed by incorrect category reporting. It was agreed that the key importers would be consulted in an effort to make some real comparisons of the 2014 stats against actual imports.

Also pending an ABS inquiry, Digital Drums awaits reclassification into its own code. Further information as it comes to hand.

Longer term, the committee chose to keep its options open regarding trade events this year, seeking to prioritise our promotion to the end user. Having said that AMAC is scheduled  for 2016 at Jupiters from August 27 – 28

The committee approved some news memberships too, with Jade MC Australia, The Music Bus and Muso’s Corner joining up to support the efforts of the group.

Lower Value Threshold for GST on Imports

Lower Value Threshold for GST on Imports

May 2015

The Association’s submission to Federal Government Tax Review process can be viewed at this link. – Federal Government Submission Tax Review May 28 2015

Submissions are accepted to June 1, 2015 and members are encouraged to add their voice to campaign by making one themselves via the Better Tax Website

Lower Value Threshold for GST on Imports –

The low value threshold (LVT) is a part of the GST laws that enables Australian citizens to purchase goods from foreign companies (usually online) without having to pay GST on those goods, if those goods are worth less than $1,000.

The LVT provides foreign companies with an unfair advantage over Australian companies. As they don’t have to charge 10 per cent GST, foreign companies can offer their goods at a lower price than their Australian competitors.

This is having a direct impact on AMA members’ businesses.

The AMA is part of an effort to level the playing field for Australian retailers by having this threshold lowered by the government.

LVT Advocacy Kit

The association has prepared an Advocacy Kit for members who are willing to write a letter and/or request a meeting with their local Federal MP to champion the cause of reducing the threshold on low value items that are imported into Australia. The kit includes standard letters for your store letterhead which can be amended to suit, to Federal MP’s, as well as State Treasurers, Fact Sheets, and we can advise you of you parliamentary contacts if you require assistance.

Should you wish to join the effort to create a more level playing field for our industry.  Please indicate your interest by contacting Rob Walker at – we will contact you.

So far, individuals, on behalf of their businesses have made representations to their local members and state treasurers. Responses have provided an insight into the issue and slowly, governments are recognising the affect that this is having on small business.

Brendan Callinan, MD of Roland Corporation sat down with Bronwyn Bishop, his local federal member. She in turn requested a response from the Minister for Small Business, Bruce Bilson, extracts of which appear below;

” I appreciate Mr Callinan’s concern, in relation to the current tax treatment of goods sourced from overseas and I acknowledge the importance of the issue to small business. Indeed small businesses across the country have been proactive in raising the profile of the low value threshold and lobbying for change”

“The Productivity Commission in 2012 recognised the case for significantly lowering the threshold, but recommended it be lowered when it was cost effective to do so. The Government has now received the business case and possible implementation plans for reform to low value parcel which the Taskforce recommended be undertaken”.

Any changes require the States and Territories to agree. Up to September 19, agreement has not been reached on a workable approach to the issue and the Minister advises that “it is not open to the government to act unilaterally to address the issue.”

Grahama Hoskins of Concept Music, WA received a similar response from Mr Bilson

This disagreement principally comes from the Western Australian Treasurer, Dr Mike Nahan, which in response to a letter from the AMA, stated in part;

“The WA government understands your concerns, however it considers fundamental reform to the way GST is distributed to the states to be the priority.”

Western Australia is also concerned at possible consumer welfare losses that would result from a lowering of the threshold.”

Dr Nahan argues that, delays and handling costs would rise if the process was not handled efficiently, this despite the business case and implementation plan being completed.

By contrast the Victorian Treasurer Hon.Michael O’Brien MP responded to representations from Rob Henneman of Australasian Music Supplies and the AMA;

“Victoria supports investigating proposals to lower the threshold at which GST is payable on imports, having regard to the consequences for any administration costs that any such change may bring. The $1 000 threshold is relatively high by international standards and the potential for deliberate avoidance is a concern for the Iong-term integrity of the tax system”.

We think the pendulum is beginning to swing, with further opportunity for change possibly coming in the federal government’s White Paper on tax reform. This Tax White Paper will give states and territories an opportunity to raise the issue once more and also will seek  public comment..


AMA Member’s Survey Provides Good Insights

Members and others have confirmed to the executive committee the key roles members expect the AMA to play in the industry, by participating in the September survey. These include provision of statistics, events, communications, and importantly its advocacy efforts representing the interests of members. Nearly half the members responded to the survey, which provided a good sample of opinions from a broad section of the industry.

A summary of the key responses can be viewed by clicking here Summary Survey Data_All_210920

The final question in the survey regarding a single thing the members valued yielded a variety of replies, but coming through strongly was the AMA persisting with its advocacy efforts on behalf of music education and the promotion of music making generally across the community.


AMA Seeks to Appoint New Executive Officer at end of 2021


After first being appointed to the AMA in 1990, Rob Walker will hand over the position of Executive Officer at the end of 2021. Rob has been in his current role since returning to the AMA in 2013 and is now stepping back from this responsibility.

In this time, Rob helped the executive committee resurrect AMAC (Australian Music Association Convention) and the guitar show concept (Melbourne Guitar Show), and develop new ones, as well as develop strong partnerships with organisations such as NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) and the NAMM Foundation.

Rob will participate in the transition process and continue to advise the AMA on future events and remains part of the family. He is deputy-chair of the board and has been integral to the launch of the industry Charity, Music for All.

Rob has invested over 30 years’ service to the music products industry. This includes being past president of the AMA, three years working for the NAMM organisation in North America as well as seven years in retail. He has facilitated, project-managed or convened 30+ events for the industry in that time and represented the AMA to various levels of government and to organisations on many fronts.

The AMA would like to publicly thank Rob for his dedication to the AMA and the music industry more broadly both commercially and as a musician.

Rob said, “It has been my privilege to act as Executive Officer of the AMA. We have weathered the storm of the last couple of years, a bit battered, but still floating and ready for the next stanza – we’ve got some young, enthusiastic and influential members on the board who represent the future of the industry, and this is good to see. I’d like to thank all the members for their support over the years and I appreciate the many friendships I have made and great people I’ve dealt with over the years.”

I would personally like to thank Rob for his extraordinary investment of time and energy into the AMA, shouldering the bulk of the workload, managing relationships, and providing stability for the association.

The AMA is now entering a new chapter.

Michael Shade